Von Willebrand Disease

What is Von Willebrand disease?

Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder like hemophilia. It is caused by a defect or deficiency of a blood-clotting protein, called the von Willebrand factor. The von Willebrand factor is essential for the beginning stages of clotting and acts like glue to help the platelets stick together and form a blood clot.

  • Von Willebrand disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in the United States, affecting as many as 1 in every 1,000 individuals.
  • Von Willebrand disease is often compared to hemophilia, but it is a different condition and has a different pattern of bleeding.
  • It affects both boys and girls equally (while hemophilia mainly affects boys). A parent with vWD has a 50 percent chance of passing the gene to his or her child.

How we care for von Willebrand disease

We treat our patients who have von Willibrand disease at the Boston Hemophilia Center, a federally-funded joint program between Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization. The Boston Hemophilia Center is the largest hemophilia treatment program in New England, and it provides treatment for a variety of bleeding disorders, including von Willebrand disease.

The Boston Hemophilia Center treatment team helps children and adults with bleeding disorders to manage their illness as independently as possible and therefore lead more normal, healthy lives.

Learn more

Find in-depth information on von Willebrand disease on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including details on von Willebrand disease symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more.